The Ledonia Wright Cultural Center (LWCC), Women and Gender Office (WGO) and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) will host a virtual anti-racism workshop tomorrow at 3 p.m. through WebEx.
Ashley Harzog Cleland, associate director for the Women and Gender office at East Carolina University, said the workshop will be the first of its kind.
“As a university, a lot of the folks that are on the forefront who work at student affairs like us as well as faculty are thinking about ways that we can talk about the larger issues that are being addressed at the forefront in our country right now,” Cleland said. “It is an indirect response to what our students have been asking for, but also to give an opportunity for faculty, staff and the community to participate as well in discussions about race and justice.”
Cleland said the associate director of the LWCC of ECU reached out to the WGO and the CLCE and initiated the conversation on how to give students, faculty and staff the anti-racism tools they will need to engage in the world.
With hopes people will attend so they can continue to host the workshops, Cleland said she knows one workshop will not get rid of racism and we all play in part in doing the work.
“Folks of all races can engage in anti-racism work, but I do think that some of our white students, faculty and staff have a real opportunity through this workshop to utilize the privileges that we have to create an environment at ECU where everyone feels welcomed, supported and seen,” Cleland said.
The workshop, which is open to students, faculty and the community, can give people tools like a phrase that they can use so if someone is saying a racist joke or making someone feel uncomfortable, they can step in and help the situation, Cleland said.
Susan Pearce, associate professor and director of graduate studies at the department of sociology at ECU, was a panelist of the “Just Mercy” showing and discussion panel on June 17.
The movie showing and discussion was hosted by LWCC, SAB, Student Activities and Organizations, Center for Counseling and Student Development and the Office of Student Transitions.
Pearce said the showing was co-organized by the LWCC and the Honors College. She said the panelists discussed issues in the justice system such as the prison-industrial complex and the use of prisoners by big corporations for cheap labor.
“We (the panel) talked about possible remedies for change such as more programming inside prisons such as courses, and the fact that law libraries have disappeared from prisons—that is where the imprisoned could learn the law to defend themselves,” Pearce said in an email statement.
Tracy Morse, associate professor in the English department and director of Writing Foundation at ECU, said she was a part of the committee to help put on the “Just Mercy” showing and discussion where there were about 25 people that joined in on the discussion.
Morse said faculty and staff members, Michael Daniels, School of Social Work, Jarvis Hargrove, AAH History and Reggie Watson, English Department, were on the panel as well. She said the panelists talked about themes in the film and the book “Just Mercy” that relate to the issues going on right now.
“Bryan Stevenson’s work reminds us that we are all ‘more than the worst we have done.’ Morse said. “Themes that emerged from the discussion included thinking about change that comes through educating people and advocating for those who are overlooked because of race and socio-economic status, especially those coming from the jail system.”
More information on the anti-racism workshops and instructions to RSVP can be found at the ECU Engage website.